Another state powers up electric vehicle parking fines

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson |

South Australia has introduced fines for parking cars but not charging them at electric car bays.
South Australia has introduced fines for parking cars but not charging them at electric car bays.

Parking petrol-powered vehicles in spaces designed for electric cars will attract fines in six Australian states and territories after the South Australian government announced new penalties for the act. 

Electric car drivers will not be immune to the fines either because they include a penalty for drivers who park battery-powered vehicles in charging bays but do not connect to a charger. 

The South Australian government launched the transport penalties this week, following states including NSW, Victoria and Queensland. 

Industry experts welcomed the move, saying it could educate more road users about the importance of vehicle chargers, but they also warned it could take months before fines are issued.

The new parking offences, which were gazetted by the government in November last year, will attract on-the-spot fines of $75 in the first instance and $111 for repeated infringements. 

Fines will be issued to drivers of diesel and petrol-powered cars who park their vehicle in clearly signposted electric vehicle charging bays, as well as EV drivers who park in the spaces but do not use the charger provided.

Australian Electric Vehicle Association national president Chris Jones said introducing fines to change driver behaviour around electric vehicle chargers was vital as many people were still unaware of the frustration they could cause. 

“If I’ve travelled 200km to get to a charging station in a regional area, it’s the only charging in town and someone’s parked their vehicle there, locked it and walked away, I simply cannot access that charger until they come back,” he said.

“The mere existence of the fine might start to help people appreciate that.”

Dr Jones said the threat of penalties could help improve behaviour among some electric vehicle drivers, who did not appreciate the importance of charging their vehicle only as much as necessary and freeing up the facility for other users.

The Royal Automobile Association of South Australia charge program director Andrew Howard said the laws would highlight the need for better use of car-charging infrastructure.

“We do see instances where a car is parked in an EV charging bay and is not plugged in and charging and as a result these bays appear to be available on charging apps,” he said. 

“We hope a uniform approach will help educate all drivers and act as a reminder to practice good parking etiquette, and that applies to EV drivers too.”

But Mr Howard warned councils could take time to erect signs to warn about penalties, potentially delaying fines under the scheme. 

Other states with fines for parking petrol and diesel vehicles in electric car-charging bays, which is an act known as ICE-ing, include NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, as well as the ACT. 

AAP